U.S. premiere of John Akomfrah's 'Vertigo Sea' at SF MoMA
16 February 2018Opening 3 March at SF MoMA, Sublime Seas: John Akomfrah and J.M.W. Turner presents the U.S. premiere of Akomfrah's Vertigo Sea. Debuting at the Venice Biennale in 2015, the three-channel video installation encompasses fictional narrative, natural history documentary and film essay and references Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville's Moby Dick and Heathcote Williams's poem Whale Nation, among others. An aural and visual journey which explores the greed and cruelty of the whaling industry and the transatlantic slave trade, the film positions the current crisis of refugees across the globe in a longer historic perspective of race, migration and commerce.
At the museum Vertigo Sea will be installed alongside The Deluge, a dramatic depiction of the Biblical flood by the celebrated painter J.M.W. Turner on loan from Tate, London. Akomfrah selected the painting to accompany his film in the exhibition. Sublime Seas highlights the San Francisco Bay Area's maritime history and its location as a port for migrants — a position as both the start and end of epic journeys.